Author: Tony Liddell
The glory days of Blenkinsopp Castle were back in the latter years of the fourteenth century, but two hundred years later the castle was already a mass of ruined walls and overgrown chambers. Over the years many attempts to restore the fortress took place, but all ended in failure, leading to the only long term resident being its ghostly one.
The last recorded sighting of the Grey Man of Bellister Castle was over one hundred and fifty years ago, but before that time the Castle grounds and the forests around were known to be well and truly haunted by the Grey Man, whose appearance it is said foretold of death. The origins of this spectre are shrouded in folklore, but it seems that during the reign of Elizabeth I, a wandering old minstrel came to Bellister Castle looking for shelter and food, for which he was willing to pay in song and story. However, the young Baron of Bellister drank too much, and his wine-fuddled mind began to play tricks on him, rousing paranoia and suspicions that perhaps the old man was an agent of his enemies, come to spy on him.
Silky has been compared to both ghost and brownie, and by the year 1863, Balfour claimed that she had not been heard of for some years. In appearance, Silky was a tall woman, dressed in silk (hence her name) but at that point tales of her appearance varies widely. Some say that she dressed in glowing white silk, others in dark rustic browns; and there are those that say her appearance was terrifying and ugly, and yet by the same notion, others say that she was a calm, gentle apparition, soothing in appearance.
Bamburgh Castle is one of the most well-known castles in the Northumberland coastal landscape, its impressive walls being used in a number of television and film productions, as well as its sheer location and size dominating the landscape. It is currently owned and occupied by the Armstrong family, who are allowing archaeological excavations of areas of the castle and the surrounding dunes. The main legends surrounding the Castle are about a dragon, or rather a worm or wyrm said to once plague the surrounding areas, but the grounds also have several ghost stories, the most well known being that of the Green Lady, a slight female figure swathed in a green cloak who has been witnessed on a number of occasions tumbling down the old steps clutching a bundle in her arms.
Bainbridge, now called John Lewis, is a shop in Newcastle with over one hundred and fifty years of history behind it. However, it is not the old Market Street Bainbridge building that has tales of the supernatural associated with it: rather it is the Eldon Square site that seems to have been active, mostly in the period just after the move to Eldon Square from Market Street. The ghost seen wandering Bainbridge was that of a Grey Lady: quite literally in this case as she was said to be a little grey old lady often seen in the old restaurant area.
The Silky of Denton Hall has a similar story to that of the apparition at Black Heddon. According to Tomlinson in 1894, Denton Hall had at that time been haunted by Silky, or ‘Old Barberry’ as the spirit was also known for nearly a century. According to legend, the first appearance of Silky coincided with Mr. William Thomas being tenant of the Hall. Thomas had two domestic servants, sisters named Ruth and Hannah Bell, and one night one of the sisters dreamed that there was a huge sum of money buried under a specific flagstone in the Hall’s entrance hall. The next morning, she told her sister, who then told Thomas – who had the stone raised and found a wealth of treasure.
One of the most controversial ‘tools’ in the arsenal of many ghost investigation groups is the Ouija Board, the standard term used as a catchall for all spirit and talking boards. The idea of a talking board is pretty standard… you have a board with a set of numbers, letters and markers such as ‘yes’ and ‘no’, then everyone pops a hand on a glass or planchette resting on the board, and when you ask a spirit that’s present a question, the glass/planchette will move to the appropriate answers, or will spell those answers out.
On the 12th November 2019 I was lucky enough to be one of the small group of guests invited by Chris and Annette Fox of Deadzone Paranormal Adventures to undertake a 24 hour paranormal investigation at Jedburgh Jail. Knowing that I just don’t have the stamina I used to (its age you know!) I went prepared – lots of coffee, food, energy drinks and a nice warm sleeping bag. While the idea was a noon til noon investigation, I knew that as soon as the cold seeped into my bones I’d need some shut eye.